Friday, July 3, 2009

Lawyer Burnout, A Personal Message to You

Lawyer burnout is no illusion. The profession consistently loses tremendously skilled professionals to burnout and career disillusionment. You may have started into law with a burning desire to help people and now you're left questioning whether or not you've made much of a contribution at all.

You probably prided yourself in you ability to find solutions and navigate through tough problems to successful outcomes. And now you feel pretty powerless to solve your own problems.

You may be fighting an unwillingness to let anyone else know the depth of your discouragement. You probably pictured that success would provide plenty of time for a rewarding personal and family life and now you feel like you haven't known what balance is for an awfully long, long time.

The key symptoms of burnout in law firms are similar to other professions, a loss of energy, a loss of involvement, a loss of effectiveness and a loss of health or sense of well-being.

The starting point for a solution that will lead to good outcomes is relatively simple to spell out – admit there is a problem. You don't have to know all the details. Tell your spouse. Tell a trusted colleague. Tell us.

As a lawyer, an executive, a leader, you have been highly trained to provide help to others. I'll bet you received little to no training at all around receiving help yourself. Burnout in lawyers ... and this includes you ... will only be solved by dealing with the truth and knowing when to bring in assistance.

More information isn't always the solution. You may need personal assistance. You may need to work with someone who is confidential and non-judgmental and someone where you and turning this situation around can be the focus.

Depending on what you are experiencing, you may need to check with a doctor. You may also contact your local lawyers assistance program and access the resources they make available to you. Alternately you might work with a professional coach to deal with burnout before your situation further deteriorates.

Bottom line? Admit you are feeling burned out. Let someone else assist you for a change. You probably need it.

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